Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 27, 2013

NU looks to move closer to MAAC title

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Purple Eagles have been on an accelerated path in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference all season.

Eighth-place finishers a year ago, Niagara was picked to finish fifth this year with the youngest playing rotation in the MAAC. After getting off to the fastest start in school history, the Purple Eagles are now leading the pack as the MAAC title race heads down the home stretch.

"Are we ahead of schedule?" coach Joe Mihalich asked rhetorically after an earlier win. "I don't know what the schedule is."

The schedule is as such that the Purple Eagles need only win two more home games to clinch their first MAAC regular season title since 2005. With that would come the top seed in the upcoming MAAC tournament, and a guaranteed spot in the NIT if they don't qualify for the NCAAs.

Heading into tonight's game with Rider, Niagara holds a one-game lead over defending champion Loyola in the MAAC standings. Loyola plays at Iona on Friday night.

Rider is the lone MAAC team Niagara has yet to beat this season. Playing without leading scorer Antoine Mason on Feb. 7 in Lawrencville, N.J., the Purple Eagles lost 72-69 after leading at halftime.

The Broncs have won five of their last six and are tied with Canisius for third-place in the MAAC standings.

"We've got a tone of respect for Rider," Niagara coach Joe Mihalich said. "They are a hard team to play against, mismatch problems one through five. Most underrated team in the conference, I think, with the most underrated player in the conference in Jonathan Thompson."

Niagara also got a rare negative performance from point guard Juan'ya Green, who this week was named as a finalist for the Lou Henson National Mid-Major Player of the Year award. Green, the Purple Eagles' second-leading scorer and one of the leading candidates for MAAC Player of the Year, shot 1 for 17 from the field in the loss.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page